Most of the countries affected by the December 2004 tsunami are located in the geographical area managed by WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO), which hosted a meeting in Bali, Indonesia to review progress toward achieving benchmarks for emergency preparedness and response and to transform these into a framework for intensifying country/community capacities.

Emergency managers from several tsunami-impacted countries shared their experiences. For example, India discussed events that led to forming a National Disaster Management Authority; Thailand shared factors that helped to identify the core components of a community preparedness program. Other presentations looked at how lessons learned are being applied. Indonesian authorities presented a review of the response to the Yogyakarta earthquake, which occurred just one month before this meeting, claiming more than 5,700 lives and displacing some 2 million people. A SEARO communicable disease expert showed how a surveillance and reporting system established following the tsunami was transferred to Yogyakarta, together with experienced staff from tsunami-affected regions of Indonesia. The system is also partially responsible for preventing outbreaks and epidemics. To learn more about the SEARO benchmarks for progress, a copy of the Bali Declaration or for a copy of the meeting report write to Dr. Roderico Ofrin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..